Harrogate business leader blasts 'car ban' as town centre faces new 'traffic calming' measures
Sandra Doherty, Chief Executive of Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce, said: “Surely when Harrogate town centre is open, we will want to encourage people to come?
"And this encouragement must take into account parking and accessibility.
“I can understand a ‘park and ride’ to try and do something about the amount of traffic coming through the town, but we must remember much of this traffic is parents delivering their children to school.
“Other sources of traffic is the daily commute to and from work, with people travelling through the centre of Harrogate as there is no easy way around.
“The solution is not, and never will be, the random closing of one road or another. A fully thought out, cohesive plan, which must involve all stakeholders should be undertaken.
“We must understand that no one single group will have the perfect solution. There will have to be some give and take.”
The Harrogate business leader's remarks follow the announcement earlier this week that North Yorkshire County Council highways team is to impose experimental traffic restrictions on Beech Grove and Lancaster Road.
The move would see non-residential through traffic will be prevented from entering these roads to create quieter streets where residents feel safer when walking and cycling.
But Sandra Doherty said she feared this sort of approach would not be good for the future prospects of the retail sector or Harrogate town centre.
Mrs Doherty said: “I am not convinced that the Government’s view of car free towns surrounded by cycle lanes and pavements is the solution to the decline of the high street.
“Now we have all got used to shopping online towns will have to provide a more experiential offering – and banning cars or discouraging them just won’t help.
“Let’s build a Harrogate fit for the future however that looks.”
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